Weather

A new global temperature forecast published by the Met Office, through to 2017, has scaled back projections of the amount of warming they expect compared with previous estimates.

The new projection can be seen below with more details on the Met Office website.



I have written several times in the last few years on the subject of Met Office global temperature predictions, and how they have been regularly too warm.

In the 12 years to 2011, 11 out of 12 forecasts were too high - and although all projections were within the stated margin of error, none were colder than expected.

One of their most high profile forecasts came in late 2009, coinciding with the Copenhagen climate conference.

It stated that half the years between 2010 and 2015 would be hotter than the hottest year on record, which I wrote about on my blog.

This already appears wide of the mark.

The latest projection seems to address this error with a prediction to 2017 in which temperatures rise 20% less than previously estimated.

In November 2009 I wrote about this levelling off in global temperatures, using research available at the time on the Met Office website.

In it, the Met Office explained that the levelling off of global temperatures that we were experiencing can be expected at time periods of a decade or less, because of the computer models internal climate variability.

But intriguingly, the research ruled out zero trends for time periods of 15 years or more.

The new projection, if correct, would mean there will have been little additional warming for two decades despite rising greenhouse gases.

It's bound to raise questions about the robustness and reliability of computer simulations that governments around the world are using in order to determine policies aimed at combating global warming.

The Met Office says natural cycles have caused the recent slowdown in warming, including perhaps changes in the suns activity, and ocean currents.

And mainstream climate scientists, who are in a majority, say that when the natural cooling factors change again, temperatures will be driven up further by greenhouse gases.

But climate sceptics, who have long argued that natural processes are either underestimated, or not properly understood, will not be surprised at this scaling back of expected warming.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 285. Posted by QuaesoVeritas

    on 15 Jan 2013 22:54

    #284. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Nevertheless, this makes December 2012 the 10th warmest December since 1880 and it makes 2012 the joint 7th warmest year since 1880 (both according to NASA)."

    I'm not sure I agree with those rankings.
    I make it the joint 13th warmest December:

    1 2006 0.74
    2 2003 0.72
    3 2005 0.65
    4 1997 0.58
    5 2009 0.57
    6 1998 0.55
    7 2001 0.52
    8 2008 0.51
    9 2004 0.48
    10 2007 0.46
    11 2010 0.45
    11 2011 0.45
    13 1999 0.44
    13 2012 0.44

    Also, I make 2012 the 9th warmest year (jan-dec):

    1 2010 0.66
    2 2005 0.65
    3 2007 0.62
    4 1998 0.61
    5 2002 0.60
    6 2009 0.59
    6 2003 0.59
    6 2006 0.59
    9 2012 0.56

    When you said the rankings were according to NASA, was that based on data or on a NASA summary?

    As well as being a big fall in the global anomaly, I think it's a remarkable switch between N.H. and S.H. I think it's the biggest negative figure for NH-SH since May 2002.
    See my post #280

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  • Comment number 284. Posted by newdwr54

    on 15 Jan 2013 21:59

    NASA finally got the December 2012 data out.

    There was quite a cooling between November and December: temperatures went from 0.68 above the 1951-1980 average to just +0.44C above it.

    Nevertheless, this makes December 2012 the 10th warmest December since 1880 and it makes 2012 the joint 7th warmest year since 1880 (both according to NASA).

    Bearing in mind that 2012 qualifies as a 'La Nina' year (i.e. one that should be unusually cool because the first three months were within officially declared La Nina conditions), that's quite a feat.

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  • Comment number 283. Posted by newdwr54

    on 15 Jan 2013 21:47

    276. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "The important thing is the fact that the models DIDN'T forecast such a period of stasis, although retrospectively, the "experts" say it is not unusual. Those of us who said that temperatures wouldn't rise as quickly as the models forecasted they would, were correct."

    The problem may be that models can only forecast temperature changes in 'model' worlds. As far as I know the models treat ENSO as 'neutral', i.e. they assume that La Nina and El Nino conditions will even out over periods of ~ a century.

    If the 2007 IPCC models don't take ENSO variations into account then they are ill prepared to reflect the preponderance of La Nina conditions that have occurred since 2007.

    But you may be right. Maybe the last 10 years is a reflection of future global climate trends. Maybe the WMO's 30-year 'classic period' is wrong. It was wrong in the 1970s after all, when it showed a cooling trend.

    The problem we have is that the stakes are quite high, if you're wrong.

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  • Comment number 282. Posted by waikuku

    on 15 Jan 2013 19:29

    # 281 Ashleyhr

    Ta for that - lets hope the next two weeks are as 'entertaining' as mentioned . . .

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  • Comment number 281. Posted by ashleyhr

    on 15 Jan 2013 19:14

    Message 277
    Paul is now agreeing with you (as you have already seen): http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2013/01/disruptive-snow-possible-at-th.shtml

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  • Comment number 280. Posted by QuaesoVeritas

    on 15 Jan 2013 17:39

    The December NASA/GISS anomaly figures have been published at last:

    Global = 0.44c, compared with 0.68c for November.
    This is the lowest December anomaly since 2002.
    N.H. = 0.36c, compared with 0.81c for November.
    This is the lowest N.H. December anomaly since 2000.
    S.H. = 0.51c, compared with 0.55c for November.
    This is the warmest S.H. December anomaly since 2009 and the 5th warmest on record.
    The annual global figure for 2012 is 0.56c, compared with 0.54c for 2011, making it the 9th warmests year on record globally. There seem to have been quite a lot of retrospective adjustments to both N.H. and S.H. monthly figures, but I haven't had a chance to look at them in detail yet.
    The fall in the NASA/GISS global, N.H. and S.H. anomalies are larger than those for UAH and RSS, suggesting that there may also be a large fall in the HadCRUT and NCDC/NOAA anomalies.

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  • Comment number 279. Posted by QuaesoVeritas

    on 15 Jan 2013 14:43

    I have just noticed that part of a sentence in my post #276 was incomplete.
    I think I had intended to say:

    "Part of that trend is due to changes in temperature over 20 years ago and in any field other than "climate change", that wouldn't be considered as "now".
    Imagine a large corporation trying to get away with saying that their profits were "now" rising, when they hadn't increased for over 10 years, simply because they were still higher than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

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  • Comment number 278. Posted by oldgifford

    on 15 Jan 2013 09:14

    And another "forecast" from our beloved weather forecasters. Notice how they have found out it's usually colder in the North.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/wm/wm_forecast_weather_noscript.html

    UK Outlook for Tuesday 29 Jan 2013 to Tuesday 12 Feb 2013:
    Colder than average conditions are favoured across many parts of the UK, especially in the north and east. Whilst there is no strong signal for rainfall patterns through this period, drier than average conditions are more likely in the north, whereas the south may have near or even slightly above average rainfall. The frequency of snow events through this period may be more than experienced so far this winter.
    Updated: 1139 on Mon 14 Jan 2013

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  • Comment number 277. Posted by waikuku

    on 15 Jan 2013 08:28

    #274

    . . ."The weather pattern this month and winter so far has some slight parallels with, dare I say it, 1946-47" . . . .

    Of course you can say that ! imho I think the current and immediately forecast synoptic is similar (not identical) to Jan 69 and that led to a very cold snowy Feb which commenced with a strong polar plunge and then continued with three successive weeks of snow events with PC basically in residence. Eventually a push from the south - with widespread heavy snow (strong easterly) for 12-18 hours before turning to rain and clearing the snow on a rapid thaw. (Rather like #275 " . . 'south wind snowstorm' followed by a widespread thaw . . .").

    A very slow warming process thereafter with -5c at 4500ft making further incursions into mainland britain (excl SW) during the following week.

    [btw, Return of the Django . . 1969 !]

    Whatever, synoptically (if such a word exists) it all looks to have entertainment value over the next few days and thereafter well into Feb.

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  • Comment number 276. Posted by QuaesoVeritas

    on 15 Jan 2013 08:23

    #270. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "As QV says, this may be a statistical artefact. I don't know. All I know is that I applied the same rules to one set of data that I did to another, albeit over a longer period, and I came up with an honest answer."

    I think that all of the trends over various periods are "correct", although it does surprise me that the longer-term trend is higher than the two shorter-term ones.

    "The per-decade rate of warming is higher now (1979-2012) than it was during David Whitehouse's selected period of 1979-1996; a period Whitehouse said was one of "warming".
    So why and how are we in a period of temperature "standstill"?"

    It all depends on your definition of "now".
    I wouldn't consider 1979-2012 to be "now".
    Part of that trend is due to changes in temperature over 20 years ago and in any field other than "climate change".
    No amount of recent stasis or even decline, can change PAST temperatures.
    There is no doubt that there has been no actual warming for at least 10 years and no "statistically" significant warming or cooling for longer than that.
    I don't know why some people can't accept that as a fact, without it implying anything for future temperatures.
    The important thing is the fact that the models DIDN'T forecast such a period of stasis, although retrospectively, the "experts" say it is not unusual.
    Those of us who said that temperatures wouldn't rise as quickly as the models forecasted they would, were correct.
    Now we have at least one "experimental" model which says that there may be no more warming for perhaps another 5 years, and that a fall in temperatures is equally as likely as a large increase, predicted by the previous model as being very likely.

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